After The Wire

Via Radley Balko, a compilation of great moments from The Wire, the best television show of all time:

What’s really depressing to me about the current TV landscape isn’t so much that we haven’t seen another Wire-quality show as it is that we haven’t even seen a serious effort to produce another show that’d be as good. The aesthetic message of the The Wire is that it’s possible to create TV shows with much higher aspirations than what you typically see—long, densely structured plot arcs with sprawling casts of characters that allow you to go beyond what’s possible in movies. But the business message is that being near-universally celebrated as the best TV show doesn’t bring with it any particular financial rewards.

Consequently, if you watch Dexter or True Blood you don’t say to yourself “this is every bit is ambitious as The Wire but doesn’t quite hit the mark.” Instead, you’re looking at shows that have constrained their ambitions. It’s sad. Consequently, even though I’ve seen each season at least twice, in recognition of the fact that I don’t own any of the DVD’s I’m going to go buy the complete series box set in hopes of creating better financial incentives for better television in the future.